Dr Drinkwater's Botanical Compendium At Wrexham Museum

| 18 August 2003
Shows a photograph of a painting of a flower stem.

Photo: one of the 33 paintings selected from a collection of 385 plant portraits created by Dr Harry Drinkwater before the First World War.

Dr Drinkwater's Excellent Botanical Compendium, an exhibition of plant portraits produced almost 100 years ago, is on show at Wrexham County Borough Museum until October 4.

Consisting of 33 paintings, the display is a selection of works from a collection of 385 plant portraits held by the Department of Biodiversity & Systematic Biology at the National Museum and Gallery in Cardiff.

Produced by local physician, Dr Harry Drinkwater, almost all of the portraits depict plants and wild flowers native to North Wales, many of which were collected by Dr Drinkwater during journeys to visit patients.

The exhibition is a product of the Welsh Assembly's 'Sharing Treasures' scheme, which helps create partnerships between the National Museums and Galleries of Wales and the country's local museums.

Shows a photograph of a woman having a look at a number of paintings of flowers, which are hanging on a white wall.

Photo: Emily Meilleur, Bio-diversity Officer at Wrexham County Borough Council has a look around the exhibition.

Wrexham Museum is the second venue to benefit from the scheme, which has also enabled an upgrade of the temporary exhibition gallery to make it suitable for the loan of national collections.

Opening the show, Alan Pugh, Welsh Minister for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport, explained how the programme can help local museums.

"It is a great pleasure to launch the second exhibition of the Cyfoeth Cymru Gyfan – Sharing Treasures Scheme," said Mr Pugh.

"The first exhibition at Oriel Ynys Mon on Anglesey in March was a great success. I am sure that Dr Drinkwater's Excellent Botanical Compendium will be equally well received."

"Thanks to this Welsh Assembly Government funded scheme, 33 of the best examples of his work will be on display in this exhibition, in the town where he lived and worked."

Shows a photograph of a painting of a flower stem.

Photo: almost all of Dr Drinkwater's portraits depict plants and wild flowers native to North Wales, many of which were collected by the Dr himself during journeys to visit patients.

Dr Harry Drinkwater, an eminent physician who carried out detailed and respected research into hereditary diseases, first came to Wrexham in 1890.

Combining his favourite pastimes of field botany and painting, his gouache portraits of plants and flowers were exhibited for the first time at the National Eisteddfod, held in Wrexham in 1912.

Dr Drinkwater had already donated 95 of his works to the Grosvenor Museum in Chester when he was persuaded to offer the rest of the collection to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff. He had originally intended it to go to the British Museum, but since his subjects were more often than not the plantlife of Wales, in 1920, he took them to the Welsh capital.

He died five years later and his collection has since been described as one of the most important benefactions received by the Department of Biodiversity & Systematic Biology.

The 33 paintings selected to be the first of Drinkwater's works on display in Wrexham since 1912, are considered to be the finest examples from the collection.

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